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Eric, Automotive Repair Shop Manager
Category: UK Car
Satisfied Customers: 31891
Experience:  Automotive Repair Shop Manager, Technician/JA Mentor
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I own a 2011 W218 CLS 63 with 30k miles. Last week I noticed

Customer Question

I own a 2011 W218 CLS 63 with 30k miles. Last week I noticed that there was a difference between the ride height of the rear two wheels, which are controlled by the airmatic suspension system.
The driver’s side was sitting lower than the passenger side by about 2in, although there was no warning on the dash. This persisted for several days and I decided to call Mobilo who had the car transported to my local dealer. The dealer did the diagnosis and replaced the control valve which they said was faulty. I took the car home, walked around the car and noticed that the passenger side was now low – in fact I couldn’t even get a finger between the wheel and the arch. I called the dealer first thing the next morning and took the car in again. They called me in the afternoon and informed me that there was ‘water’ in the airmatic system and most of the components including the pump and the control valve (already replaced earlier) would need to be replaced at significant cost.
The car has been driven normally and has not been through water that is any deeper than your average puddle.
I have a one year extended warranty through Inchcape and they have declined to cover me due to the mention of ‘water’ and the dealer is now trying to get MB to make a contribution, although this seems unlikely given the age of the car.
I’m not convinced that the dealer really knows what the problem is and is clutching at straws. The easiest way out for them is just to make the customer pay more money – even though it appears there is no guarantee what they are proposing will work. They have said that their chief technician will look into it again on Monday.
I had a hunt on the internet and have not been able to find any similar problems reported with water in airmatic systems – moreover I believe that there is a filter on the airmatic breather tube (which is set higher up) to specifically prevent the ingress of dirt/moisture.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: UK Car
Expert:  Eric replied 1 year ago.
HI,I am sorry that you have not been helped yet. I just came online and saw your question Ok, first, I will need the last 8 of the vin number so I can pull schematics as well as check for any service bulletins that may address the issue.Also, have you gone to the dealer yet and asked to be shown the evidence of water in the components? If not, this really should be done so that you know the validity of the claim.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi Eric
The last 8 digits of the VIN are:2A012257. The vehicle was originally taken to my local MB main dealer at the beginning of the week and after 'diagnosis' they replaced the valve unit (MA2123200858). However literally half an hour after collecting the car and taking it home I noticed that the passenger rear had now dropped i.e. the problem had moved to the opposite side.
Their chief technician is now due to have a look at the car on Monday, but the service manager has told me that due to 'water' the pump and the already replaced item will likely need to be replaced. Once my warranty company heard the word 'water' they have declined to provide cover for this fault. I have trawled the internet for moisture/water in the airmatic system and can find no mention. The dealer has not provided evidence of the water. However I intend to go to the dealership tomorrow to discuss further. Having had both a W220 & W221 I know that airmatic can cause problems, but this is a new one on me particularly at 30k miles! I know that the rear ride height can be adjusted using Star, so not clear what the dealer has tried so far. I was just surprised to have the car returned and the fault has moved! Now this excuse about water - how on earth can this get into the system - the dealer even said he has seen this problem before on other cars with airmatic! I'm sure you are aware that the CLS63 only has airmatic suspension on the rear wheels.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The dealer hasn't given me any error codes although I know that there are sensors which are prone to moisture (but this is external to the airmatic pipework). One of the level sensor mechanisms was replaced several months ago and they have checked and lubricated the others - so no reason to believe that this is the cause. I have also asked them to check the airmatic filter on Monday, but this wouldn't explain why the problem has moved. The service manager also implied that the operation of the pump i.e. heating/cooling has created 'water'....but this in my opinion would be a design flaw.